Exquisite Corpse: 8 MM Film Experiment

by Anne Thompson
August 27, 2010 1:26 AM
25 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood
It's surreal.

The Subvex Film Company's The Exquisite Corpse 8mm Film Experiment aims to "bridge the gap between legends of old and young guns of contemporary cinema."

A collective of directors, filmmakers, cinematographers and audio-visual artists, Subvex advocates the use of new locations to screen films that don't get distributed via the mainstream. Based in Paris, London, New York, this international group launched this direct-to-cinema program in order to develop new waves of film making from the ground up. First up for Exquisite Corpse is a collaboration between avant-garde masters Jonas Mekas (pictured), Nina Menkes and Bill Morrison with a group of emerging filmmakers.

That lovely name, coined by the Surrealists, comes from the game in which artists each add content to a collaborative project without any pre-determined context. The result: a collage of abstractions, and jarring juxtapositions. In the case of Exquisite Corpse's first project, it's a mix of short films shot by each of the participating filmmakers. Much like puckish Lars von Trier's The Five Obstructions, the investors/producers/financiers on each project may also apply a "rule" or handicap on the filmmakers.

The project tis entirely non-for-profit. The resulting film will be screened in NYC and then streamed for free online.

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More: Directors, Genres, Independents, In Production

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25 Comments

  • twelvemagpies | September 14, 2010 12:59 PMReply

    Looks like Subvex made it with their fundraiser. I'm looking forward to seeing this!

    http://kck.st/bXTTJH

  • Anna Karina | September 10, 2010 12:15 PMReply

    Amos Poe is in this now! I'm so excited!

  • James Joyce | September 6, 2010 9:34 AMReply

    "I still can’t put my head around this Subvex thing. Did they not like MUBI.COM anymore."

    The MUBI campaign has nothing to do with a multidimensional group like Subvex is. Have the naysayer morons here ever heard of the true meaning of words like subversive and cultural and challenging? The said morons shouldn't forget the original nomenclature of MUBI is The Auteurs which under all this masked Playstation, whatever hypocrisy, there's lots to discover about filmmakers from ALL DECADES who will never become legends. So I presume funding something containing these words is a bad taste in our mouth? Relax you fucking losers, you probably dropped out from your film schools or your film taste is limited to Bergman and Godard and you're just "hoping" for Lav Diaz's collaboration to be a fake newsreel because in reality you'd rather see artists like Lav and Nina being fingered by producers instead of supporting their new artistic fragrance.
    Now go watch more home movies Mike since you're such an expert on what Art is.

  • filmbaby | September 5, 2010 4:42 AMReply

    @ PV - Shooting film isn’t hard or even that expensive and it is just as versatile when DI is in place.

    you either have never you used film or are just plain naive. Here is the price list of one of the top 8mm film labs in the world located in Los Angeles:http://www.pro8mm.com/pdf/Digital_Mastering_2010.pdf

    http://www.pro8mm.com/


    By the way, who the hell gets a Digital Intermediate for 8mm film anyway. That's like using a nuclear bomb to kill an ant. Go to film school people or do your research.

  • PV | September 4, 2010 9:32 AMReply

    @Gina Digital has some freedom but it looks sterile, plain and is even more lemming-like than film. Can you buy 8mm/16mm film at best buy? Shooting film isn't hard or even that expensive and it is just as versatile when DI is in place.

  • s | September 4, 2010 4:03 AMReply

    well.. theres always the over critical. I think this sounds like a great project. And there are plenty of 'young guns' (a terrible phrase) out there that truly deserve some recognition for their experimental moving image works.. i looked at some detail about the artists involved and it sounds amazing, so many different creators, some known, some not known, and plenty that are gaining recognition in the art world, specifically the video art world.. Its understandable that if your not involved directly with this scene or movement that you wont know all the artists. That's what excites me the most.. and whoever suggested that Philip bloom is a young gun of video art is a joker haha... get researched people.. good luck!

  • Kahlil | September 3, 2010 8:13 AMReply

    Let me see here.

    This whole project is apparently being funded for a total of $5,000 and it involves Jonas Mekas, Nina Menkes, Lav Diaz, and Bill Morrison among others. Sure, it includes other lesser-known names, but since when has art just been about name recognition?

    As for the argument that this project uses film, medium that is somehow inherently elitist and over-priced according to some... Hello, these people are funding this awesome global project for $5,000! This has to be one of the most exciting grassroots filmmaking projects that's been conceived in a while. There's no reason to be cynical about this and throw potshots at people who are trying to do something genuinely artistic in this day and age. Hmm, do I smell a little bit of envy?

    @ Akiko,
    I don't get the impression that SUBVEX is trying to compete with MUBI in some way. They probably serve different purposes and demographics. MUBI is in that whole online streaming deal with Sony, and they cater as much to the Tarantino crowd as they do to the Bela Tarr crowd. SUBVEX seems to have a narrower and leaner art-centered focus and is actually in the business of making films.

  • twelve magpies | September 3, 2010 2:28 AMReply

    The anti-intellectual backlash in some of the comments here against a project with as much potential as this is really quite disturbing.

    Maybe you all deserve your Tarantino and Diablo Cody hipster bullshit. Go back to doing your Vimeo camera tests. I'm routing for Subvex.

  • Akiko | September 3, 2010 1:01 AMReply

    Tobe Morgan, Dean Fernando, Alex&Niko; are the only reason why Garage at MUBI.COM got any credibility. I still can't put my head around this Subvex thing. Did they not like MUBI.COM anymore. Any insight from anyone would be great. I would post this question at Mubi.com, but there are so many creepy trolls there that try to get you to talk to them on skype, especially if you're a female... ewwwww!!!

  • Caralin | September 2, 2010 6:08 AMReply

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remodernist_film

  • K. Von D | September 2, 2010 4:03 AMReply

    the work of Alex and Niko and Dean Fernando at MUBI.com are my favorite! I hope the funding for this project happens!

  • Val P. | September 1, 2010 1:28 AMReply

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  • Mike | August 30, 2010 7:50 AMReply

    'Film itself has been nothing, but a hinderance to Filmmakers/Visual Projection Artists. Its over priced cost and elitist nature has done nothing, but prevent many upon many creative storytellers and visualists from expressing themselves. Thank God for digital technology and its inexpensive unpretentious nature. I’m amazed this group subvex hasn’t given Kodak, Fuji, Panavision, etc. the Big Fuck You for holding back many talented filmmakers, and for their mass media hypnosis upon the lemmings thinking that “film” is the ultimate format for capturing images for the visual artist…'
    Yeh with you on this Gina; what is this 'film is better' argument anyway? you only have to look at somewhere like vimeo to realise that great talents are finally being given the chance to express themsleves and get up and thats digital cameras doing that. they shopuld be sending out canon 7ds and copies of final cut pro.
    But apparently Fernando IS in this! (it was confirmed on his Facebook). why's he playing with these euro-nobody losers?

  • Jason | August 30, 2010 1:28 AMReply

    @alexis - did you even read this article or the attached links? No where does it state that Dean Fernando is involved. The only information on Dean Fernando about his work post New York University that is solid is that he has been working with DJ SHADOW on a project for the last few years. I like the idea of this project and I hope who ever is putting this together doesn't fuck it up and dilute it with too many no talent wannabe's.

  • alexis | August 29, 2010 12:37 PMReply

    no way Dean Fernando is involved in this?!?! Isn't he the guy that was Tarentino's underground director/actor that was supposed to act and direct a fake kung-fu trailer for on the GrindHouse before they had a falling out?! This is great news! Jonas Mekes is a legend!! Can't wait for this to come out!

  • Darby | August 29, 2010 11:56 AMReply

    Alex and Niko's film "Born from Pain" on mubi.com is a lame piece of poser subversive bullshit, after watching it, seeing it being hyped up on mubi.com by all the film nerds that post there, along with its name change from the auteurs.com i moved on to the "real" film site. "born from pain" is a typical piece of lame "shock" cinema that riffs and creatively rides on the recently overrated films of Gaspar Noe, Harmony Korine, and the sort. Its the typical crap coming from the French catacombs filmmakers that have never had a day of struggle in their wanna be rebel artistic lives, so they live it through their artistic cinematic world. How can it be so hard in country that pays for everything, even being an out of work mediocre artist.

  • Gina | August 29, 2010 11:35 AMReply

    saw this posted via retweet on twitter and was very curious about it. why is a group that seems to be claiming to be on cutting edge, and into destroying conventions, using a form of visual media like film nitrate. Film itself has been nothing, but a hinderance to Filmmakers/Visual Projection Artists. Its over priced cost and elitist nature has done nothing, but prevent many upon many creative storytellers and visualists from expressing themselves. Thank God for digital technology and its inexpensive unpretentious nature. I'm amazed this group subvex hasn't given Kodak, Fuji, Panavision, etc. the Big Fuck You for holding back many talented filmmakers, and for their mass media hypnosis upon the lemmings thinking that "film" is the ultimate format for capturing images for the visual artist...

  • Mike | August 29, 2010 6:29 AMReply

    I looked about because this interested me and couldnt find much on this 'Subvex': Bill Morrison made a film called Deacasia that looks pretty good, Nina Menkes appears to have won a lot of awards but I cant find any of her films. KJ Farrington is a screenwriter. Tobe Morgan and Alex and Niko are much hyped and linked to Gaspar Noe in Paris but dont get to show their work online for reasons of it being all shot on 35mm (eh? you never heard of TELECINE, people) and apparently 'controversial' (whatever the f*ck that means: whatever, they are French, it's all going to be sex, violence and anti-American). There's two Russians (Myznikova and Provorov) who are on this and they ahve got work in Venice Film Festival right now: word is they are good. Jonathan Douglas Duran and Nabil Shaban make weird, lofi video stuff on Vimeo that I dont understand but I guess Mekas thought it was 'young gun' enough to sign up with them.
    Dont know about the others. Ian Helliwell has a massive wiki on him but I havent seen any of his work. Same goes with 'remodernist filmmaker' Jesse Richards: lots of text and arguments. Is Fernando in? Might be an idea to get someone with some net presence but then again Fernando appears to be just making LA music videos with a lot of after effects work these days (nothign wrong with that, but I dont see how he fits with these others, who all seem to be using real film and no effects). As far as Moon goes... if anyone is riding in by being hip by association with other people who have talent it's him. Is it true that Lav Diaz is on this? I cant imagine these established filmmakers signing up if they thought the young'uns were subpar. Buit who knows. It says 'not for profit' but maybe they are gettig paid. I'm always suspicious of these things. It usually turns out to be some advertising compnay witha hidden agenda.

  • Bella | August 29, 2010 4:12 AMReply

    Jonas Mekes... oh my... without him there would be no Brekhage, etc, etc.. so that by itself is outstanding. the "young guns" is what worries me about this project. this project more than likely will become extremely unbalanced as most films with various filmmakers involved do.

    I couldn't agree more with Martinez about Chris Milk being included as a contemporary legend. Milk is very underrated as a filmmaker.. that Gnarls Barkley video Who's gonna save my Soul, was simply awesome work.. Keshavarz ,Moon, and Fernando are the future of cinema. (at least coming out of the internet filmmaker world) Bloom and Lefort as mentioned as well, are more technical rather than creative, but they are experimental in the hardware sense so i sort of agree with you guys.. I really hope they get the "emerging filmmakers" right and i hope this something that brings excitement back to experimental filmmaking and isn't one long boring exercise of phonies and fakers.

  • Brian | August 29, 2010 3:07 AMReply

    i'm kinda confused about the above... don't you mean "if this film isn't done right, this group might have to change from SUBVEX to SUB PAR." anyway i digress...

    i trolled around to see who the apparent young guns are on the link provided.. and all of the work from the unknowns are truly mediocre.. they look like film school experiments... unless they can deliver the goods on the "young guns" this looks like a sham.. i agree with all the above filmmakers mentioned in the previous comments of what young filmmakers should be included.. i'd like to add the filmmaker Saman Keshavarz who directed that great Cinnamon Chasers - "Luv Deluxe" video .. it was because of that video led me to all those "internet new wave filmmakers" like Fernando, Bloom, and Moon...

  • Monica | August 29, 2010 2:09 AMReply

    Jonas Mekas and Nina Mekes are definitely legends... I'm curious to see who the young guns are too. Vincent Laforet, Dean Fernando, Vincent Moon, MACGREGOR are mandatory "young guns" in my humble opinion... Never heard of Phillip Bloom until today via Lainey and his stuff is beautiful.. if this film done right, this group might have to change their name from SUBVEX to SUB PAR... ;-)

  • MARTINEZ | August 29, 2010 1:07 AMReply

    who are the "young guns" and how were they chosen? If any of those filmmakers mentioned in previous comment aren't in the line up or at least have contemporary legends like Chris Cunningham or Christopher Milk in the mix, you have to question the validity of this so called "experiment" it may just be a way for mediocre unknown filmmakers to score some media coverage and ride the coat tails of serious experimental filmmakers..

  • Lainey | August 28, 2010 12:27 PMReply

    are vincent moon, dean fernando, or phillip bloom part of the young guns in the lineup... if not.. i'm not interested...

  • Jonathan | August 27, 2010 2:20 AMReply

    Kickstarter project link:

    http://kck.st/bXTTJH

  • leobrady | August 27, 2010 1:42 AMReply

    excellent

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